The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’

8 “So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ 9 And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. 11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” — Matthew 20:1-16.

GOD’S JUST AND FAIR DEALING. Jesus illustrates that God’s sovereign dealings with men are always just and fair. Those who come to Him late in the day will be just as saved and blessed as those who come earlier. The promise of God is open to all and any who trust it, during any time of their lives. They will know Him and His blessing even though they may be one of the last to come. Sadly, not many of those who are called will come, but those who do come will find that they are chosen.

We have to recognize our absolute dependence on grace for any good thing from God’s hand. Since God is the giver, the Christian cannot be jealous of the good gifts God has given to another.

Positions of honor or prestige in this life by no means assure heavenly approval; indeed, often the reverse will be true. Similarly, length of earthly labor may not correspond to our heavenly reward.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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